Nokia 5230 review: Nokia 5230

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre

Average User Rating

2.5 stars 4 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Customisable home screen;. Surprisingly responsive display.

The Bad No Wi-Fi;. Ugly design;. Weird SIM card removal process.

The Bottom Line A cheaper version of the 5800 XpressMusic, the Nokia 5230 is acceptable as an entry-level smart phone, but its design quirks and lack of Wi-Fi are hard to swallow.

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When you first scoop up the Nokia 5230, chances are you'll be struck by a strange feeling of déjà vu. That's because this is essentially a rebadged version of the Finnish company's first ever touchscreen mobile -- the 5800 XpressMusic, which was released way back in 2008. While that phone was positioned as a flagship device, the 5230 has far humbler aspirations.

The Nokia 5230 is available for free on a two-year, £10-per-month contract. Alternatively, you can pick it up for around £80 on pay as you go, or SIM-free for £120.

Play it again, Sam

When placed side by side with the 5800, the Nokia 5230 looks almost identical. We could forgive Nokia lazily emulating one of its old handsets if the device in question was a design classic, but only the most dedicated Espoo fanatic would deem the 5800 attractive.

With looks only a mother could love, the 5230 certainly isn't Nokia's finest hour in terms of design.

The 5230 is saddled with the same underwhelming aesthetics that made the 5800 such an unappealing proposition back in '08. The phone feels light and cheap, and emits worrying creaking noises when gripped tightly. The raised edging around the corners of the screen helps protect it from bumps and scratches, but it looks nasty.

Closer inspection reveals the 5230 has endured a few downgrades from its older sibling. The 3.2-megapixel camera has been dropped down to 2-megapixels, and the dual-LED flash has been removed entirely. Around the front, the second video-call camera has also vanished.

Aside from these alterations, the 5230 is a close cosmetic match for the 5800. The key-guard switch remains in place, and is just as awkward to use as before, preventing quick access to the phone's functions. The main speaker is also just as weedy as the one witnessed on its predecessor, stuck in a weird position under the battery cover.

Hardly SIM-ple

Curiously, the SIM card slot is located on the side of the phone, meaning you don't have to remove the battery to fit a new one. Rather than being a neat design feature, this actually turns out to be a real pain.

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Where to Buy

Nokia 5230

Part Number: CNETNokia 5230

Typical Price: £120.00

See manufacturer website for availability.